Last tax-foreclosed home on city books sold in St. Clair Shores

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published May 8, 2018

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Nine years after the city first decided to do something about the large number of homes that had been foreclosed upon in the city, the last of the properties acquired for unpaid taxes from Macomb County has been approved for sale.

Community Development and Inspection Director Chris Rayes said that the program began in 2009 with the Dollar HUD program. 

“The economy was scary,” he said at the April 16 City Council meeting. “It’s turned out for the positive for a lot of reasons in the city. We eliminated a lot of blight in the neighborhood (and) reduced staff time babysitting these properties.”

City Manager Mike Smith credited the City Council with having the “courage” to take on the renovations of homes it purchased from the tax foreclosure program, keeping off-site investors from just scooping up the homes and flipping them. 

“A lot of city managers are amazed at what we’re able to do,” he said. 

 “This has been wildly successful,” agreed Mayor Kip Walby. “Everybody embraced this program though the last nine years. I’m truly proud of this. We have done a marvelous job for the community.”

Proceeds from the sales of homes, land and condominiums have benefited local parks and other projects in the city, Rayes said. 

The last condominium currently in the city’s possession, on Allen Court, was part of the 2016 tax foreclosure program and was foreclosed because of $2,000 in back taxes. The City Council approved its sale for $77,000 cash, leading to a $25,768 profit on the home, Rayes said, after what the city spent to rehabilitate the property.

“We’re glad to get this one on the tax roll,” he said. 

Throughout the process, a committee made up of members of the City Council has worked with the CDI Department to determine which houses should be renovated and which should be demolished, with the properties put up for sale to make way for new houses in the city.

The City Council unanimously approved the sale of the condominium.

Rayes said the city does not anticipate having too many properties available from the county’s tax foreclosure program in 2018.

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